Murton Cenotaph And Children of Mothers
Statue Seaham County Durham

Murton Cenotaph And Children of Mothers

Statue In Seaham, County Durham

A serene sculpture by Ray Lonsdale, positioned eloquently by The Cenotaph in Murton, near Seaham.

Many of you will be familiar with the artworks of Ray Lonsdale and like me, much admire the sculptures and prose that accompanies them. Their setting is always relevant as is this artwork by the Cenotaph in Murton. It is called Children of Mothers and formed with Corten Steel which reacts with moisture and rusts giving a nice patina.

Some photos were taken at Ray Lonsdale's Workshop some in the early stages in situ, and some in late January 2024 where the rustic look is apparent. Thanks go to Paul Levitt for sharing some super photographs.

This village green is a perfect setting and can offer solace, as you can spend time reflecting whilst sitting on one of the benches. Although it is by the main road, it is good for passing traffic to notice.

The Mother is now elderly and her head is slightly bent as she steadies herself with a walking stick. The lace hankie suggests she could have shed a tear or two and her eyes are closed. This lady probably had just the one handbag that she kept for years.

She is wearing a headscarf in the style known as Babushka. It is a large square of silk/silk-like material that is folded into a triangle, then put over the hair and tied under the chin. It would protect against some of the elements for example the smog, and keep the hair clean. Babushka means elderly woman in Russian.

The hole through her heart lines up with an inscription on the Cenotaph which Ray confirms was by design.

As a tribute and as an exercise to increase awareness this lady went on a tour. Children Of Mothers was captured by Paul Levitt who has kindly agreed to share some of his photos of the tour.

The prose that Ray has composed has an empathic tone.

When the shadows of my life run long, And the night airs chill bites colder

When the tune I hum is a farewell song, And I won't be getting older

When I view the world through cataract eyes, And what I see I've seen before

When I grow weary of this mothers cries

Will I see my child once more.

No Dulce et decorum est, No pro patria mori

Just a violent road to eternal rest

And a fading wartime story Of bravery and gallant deeds

As they charged and broke their cover, I wonder as they fell face down

Did they cry out for their mother,

And when politicians die in their beds

On a clean, dry cotton sheet, I pray that it torments their heads

That the ones they sent, they'll meet.

The unveiling took place on Saturday 11th November 2023.

There are lots of Mr Lonsdale's signature markings. See if you can spot them.

Next to the statue is the Cenotaph which is a war memorial made from Aberdeen Granite with bronze reliefs. Before the Boer Wars, war memorials were usually a celebration and could feature the 'Winged Goddess of Victory' or the 'Triumphant Youth' Later they became more for remembrance.

In Latin Cenotaph means Empty Tomb.

At the top are shields with the cross of St. George representing valour around. Below the crosses are laurel wreaths which are referred to as swags by the Imperial War Museum. On one side the bronze long sword is pointing downwards and represents the loss of life in battle.

Laurel wreaths featured can symbolise ongoing life and or victory.

This cenotaph was first unveiled in 1922 for the First World War and rededicated in 1947 for the Second World War. The names of those who served their country and lost their lives are inscribed around the base.

There is a nice tribute to a local man William McNally who served in both wars and survived.

The plaque details his fascinating heroics Please find time to read it.

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Parking is available on the street around the Cenotaph.

Contributed by Rosalind Parker

Thanks for reading through and getting to the end of this post. I enjoy exploring the Fabulous North (Especially as a Southerner residing up North). I like 'snippets' of information, and more so, if they are obscure, amusing or meaningful. The photographs are taken on a mobile phone, without any enhancements.

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Rosalind Parker

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